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    Jim Bowie purchases Texas land shortly before dying at the Alamo

    [Jim Bowie]. Land Sale Deed to Jim Bowie. Two pages, 8.5" x 12", Nacogdoches, September 19, 1835. Only months before the fall of the Alamo, David Bullock sells the future hero of the battle the "undivided half of my one fourth of a sitio of Land."

    This deed reads in part, "Know all men by these present that I David Bullock of the State of Coahuila and Texas do hereby sell dispose of alien[?] and convey unto James Bowie the undivided half of my one fourth of a sitio of Land which will more [?] appear by reference to the original Platt and grant obtained from G. W. Smith Commissioner to him the said James his heirs &c. for and in consideration of the Sum of Thirty dollars at and before the Signing and Sealing of these presents - free and clear from myself my heirs &c. to him the said James his heirs Executors administrators and assignees for Ever. hereby renouncing all Laws in my favor and particularly prohibiting the several Laws of this renouncement and do hereby [?] my property present and further as aforesaid given under my hand the seal[?] and date above written." The document is signed by David Bullock and five others and docketed on the verso, "Deed from/ David Bullock/ To/ James Bowie/ 1835."

    By 1835, the thirty-nine-year-old Jim Bowie had been involved in several adventurous money-making schemes; some were legally questionable, while others were downright criminal. For example, before moving to Texas, sometime around 1828 or 1830, Bowie had lived in Louisiana where he was involved in slave smuggling and a large land theft scheme involving forged land grants. Even though he made money in these nefarious ventures, it all started to disappear in 1821, when creditors began taking him to court for unpaid debts. After moving to Texas, Bowie again became involved in new land speculation schemes. One, which involved Bowie deceitfully profited from an 1828 Mexican law granting Texas land to citizens, even aroused the ire of empresario Stephen F. Austin.

    Following two unsuccessful forays into west Texas and involvement in the 1832 Battle of Nacogdoches where he fought alongside James W. Bullock, likely a relative of David Bullock, Bowie took advantage of new Mexican laws passed in 1834 and 1835 and again speculated in land. The land purchased in this deed was likely part of that speculation. At the time the sale took place, though, the Texas Revolution was heating up (Stephen Austin had called for war with Mexico only eleven days earlier). War quickly arrived and Jim Bowie and over 200 others died at the Alamo on March 6, 1836. The "G. W. Smith" mentioned in the deed could have been George Washington Smith, a veteran of the War of 1812 who would later take an active role in the Texas Revolution, the Mier Expedition, and the Mexican War. This document is on sealed paper (with a seal of the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas) stamped "Para el Bienio de 1834 y 1835." With folds and slightly frayed edges. Some separation along the central vertical fold. Toned.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    23rd Saturday
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